She Wore a Yellow Ribbon: John Ford was in full control of all aspects of filmmaking in this western, and the result is a fully engaging and entertaining experience. It’s a simple story, told without many bells-and-whistles, mixing light moments with rousing action sequences; it is, above all, filled with humanity, sentimental without being hokey. It’s a lovely gallery of characters, from the main ones to the smaller players, well-played by Ford’s usual suspects: Victor McLaglen is once more great in a broader comedic role; Mildred Natwick, Ben Johnson and Arthur Shields are fine as well in their small parts; John Wayne is very touching, playing above his age; Joanne Dru is charming, enchanting. Composer Richard Hageman’s score, which makes use of traditional Americana musical themes, is very effective. Winton C. Hoch’s cinematography is gorgeous, capturing the colorful environments (Monument Valley rarely looked this good) and the bright colors of the costumes (yellows, blues and reds being very vivid).
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